Government blocks BCC schools plan

Mrs Sylvia Utete-Masango

Mrs Sylvia Utete-Masango

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
THE Government has blocked a Bulawayo City Council resolution to surrender the running of all municipal schools to parents saying doing so is against the country’s education policy.

Instead, said the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Slyvia Utete-Masango in an interview yesterday, if any transfer were to happen, it has to be to the Government.

According to the latest council minutes, BCC revealed that it was going to hand over 29 primary and one secondary school to school development committees (SDCs) as part of measures to cut costs.

The 30 schools have an enrolment of 39 341 pupils, supported by 160 non-teaching staff who are paid by council.

BCC said the move to hand over schools to SDCs means that the committees would collect all fees and employ their own personnel.

But Dr Utete-Masango said the municipality’s decision was not practical.  “Why would they hand over to SDCs? SDCs are not permanent. If anything they should hand over to the Government not SDCs, that’s the policy,” said Dr Utete-Masango.

She said she could not comment further on the issue as council had not yet notified her ministry of its decision.

Last week, BCC said its plans to hand over schools to SDCs was necessitated by the Government’s insistence that the local authority maintains a 70:30 percent service delivery to salaries ratio.

It said if schools are handed over to SDCs, the collection of fees should improve.

“The advantage of such an arrangement would be the monitoring of fees payments. Under the present system, most pupils now complete their Grade Seven studies without paying anything and council has found its hands tied because of Government policies. Parents would be able to deal with each other at local levels in their respective communities.

“Council will however continue to construct schools in new and deserving residential areas as mandated by the Government and then hand them over to these committees for administration. Prior to that, council would construct and thereafter hand over the schools to Government,” reads the report.

— @nqotshili

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  • xhiba

    BCC should maintain the schools otherwise they will become too expensive for the ordinary household, children will become severely affected,

    • MakhosiXamu

      I do agree with your analysis , ndoda. If BCC goes ahead – our Children will suffer. Of late the local authority is busy making funny decisions that are too detrimental to the core values of development.

      • Zuze

        Kikiki True Xamu but please don’t forget to mention that the Zanu pf Govertment has also and is still busy making funny decisions that are too detrimental to the core values of development.

        • We The People

          Dont blame the BCC as a whole but blame the uneducated and hungry Councillors you voted into power. building Bulawayo isnot their primary objective. its enriching themselves and their families. I bet you some of these Councillors are part of the so called SDCs that are running these schools. Somestimes voting blindly just to make someone suffer, its you who inturn comes back to suffer….

  • koka

    BCC must never transfer ratepayers assets to zanu govt. we saw what happened with the power station. since MDC-T took over BCC we have had multiple problems to the point of transferring schools to SDC. we must fire MDC-T in the next election.

  • LihloLikazulu

    This is rubbish. Council cannot make a unilateral decision like that without consulting us the rate payers. This smells of corruption just like the parceled out land to Gift Banda at Ascot without going to tender.

    Stop the rot Dr Utete-Masango. These MDC thieves are at it again. They have positioned themselves in the SDCs and soon will sell the schools to themselves.

  • Mixed Race

    The Bulawayo public should not think that the BCC is doing this to save money to meet the 70:30 % service delivery to salaries in good faith.The budget approved for the coming this year should have included this ratio,therefore to try and transfer the schools after the approval is a betrayal of the citizens of this town.The truth is that they want to maintain a funny service delivery to salaries ratio which is against what the government has set.If you logically analyse what they will save by transferring the schools to the poor parents,then you will notice that some of this huge money will indirectly end up in salaries or funny allowances.None of this money saved will benefit the rate payers.They dug our roads promising to tar them but now we have craters in our roads which are damaging our vehicles.We know all these silly dirty tricks, therefore we support the government moves to stop this rot.Typical of poorly planned methods by semi-skilled councilors who are trying to mislead and fool people pretending to be doing good for them.

  • zev_love

    Such is the problem of a unitary state in the constitution. Everything is subject to the central govt and when you have a rubbish central govt like ours its transfers and spreads all its inefficiencies around the cowntry. There ought to be some devolution of power from the center to allow.provinces to innovate and test policies and see what works and what doesnt. Its not as if school are awash with cash and investment under govt.

  • SHIBOBO

    For once I applaud the government for this move. Its unbelievable that Bulawayo City Councillors would allow their brains to go to sleep and make such a ridiculous resolution. One wonders what they were thinking and quite honestly whether they are even fit to be councilors. This is a shame for the City of Bulawayo which has always been known for its great civic leadership, yet this crop of councilors have brought that reputation crumbling down with that absolutely stupid resolution. There are many other avenues council would have explored regarding the schools. Can they think again Please!!!!

  • We The People

    Who gave SDCs so much power anyway? This is another money making scheme